Monday, August 24, 2009
Breaking the Ice
I felt fairly confident going into Keenan's homecoming, because we just brought Miles home a mere 6 weeks ago. But the old adage "just when you think you know something, you realize you know nothing at all" has proven itself true once again.
Keenan is a sweet little boy who is NOTHING at all like Miles. So how I approached Miles is really useless when it comes to this little guy.
Our little man is a guarded soul. He says nothing to us. Nothing at all. Truthfully, after living with our jabberjaws Miles and Atticus, Keenan's quiet completely unnerves me. By Saturday afternoon I was nearly beside myself, but our dear sweet adoption-experienced Sara E. assured me that Keenan is just fine. Many children are quiet and speak very little when they come home. Language transition is overwhelming, and some kids just prefer to take everything in and then speak 4-8 weeks later. Keenan will likely fall into this group.
He's very animated with the kids in playtime. Keenan, Paloma and Atticus play beautifully together. He and Miles, not so much. Lots of typical brotherly bickering there, but I'll blog on that relationship later.
With Cliff and I, Keenan is very reserved. He'll nod or shake his head, and laugh and smile if we tickle or play. But other than that, nothing. He listens well and follows direction. If he is redirected or disciplined, he'll accept it and move on.
I can't tell if he's just an easy-going kid or quite detatched. Likely a bit of both. I sometimes get the feeling that he purposely tries to stay under our radar, maybe even in a sneaky way. Other times I feel that he's just guarded and wary. Either way, I'm still figuring out the best ways to handle him.
Keenan is grieving and he'll cling to me several times each day for about a half hour at the time. He'll curl up in my arms and fall limp. I rub his back and sing to him and coo sweet words in Kreyol.
I am exhausted. When exhausted, it is so easy to feel overwhelmed and when I feel overwhelmed it is very easy to over-analyze, which leads to being further overwhelmed. I took Keenan to the doctor today, and that little boy fought long and hard over having blood drawn. He and I both left feeling wiped out and dazed.
Right now, I'm just so tired that I don't know what the heck I'm doing. Very much like the first few weeks after a baby is born. I do remember feeling this way with Miles, and I know that in a few days, it will get better. So I'm just smiling and trying to have fun with all the kids. Figuring things out comes with time.
I don't mean to complain---what I mean to do is to be truthful so that other new adopting parents know that they are not alone! The first few weeks home are SO hard. So So So hard.
When you bring an older child home, it's all about rewriting roles. My role as a mother; the Mister's role as a parent; the children's roles as who they are in our home and in relation to one another. The Mister and I are given new parenting dilemas and we have to establish a new order of parenting. We question each other and our decisions, when neither of us are used to doing so because we had developed a system years ago. The Mister, who works largely for commission, worries about being out of the sales field, but then he worries about leaving me with 5 children. So right now we're both cranky and tired. If you and your spouse are tired and cranky with each other, know that you're not alone. This too shall pass.
But for right now, I just put the two little boys down for ti-kabisha. Hatfield is at a friends, the Mister took Atticus to a pool party, and Miss Po and I are going to settle in and watch Charlotte's Web.
I don't mean for this to be a real downer in tone; I hope it's not coming across that way. We are going through the usual family-developing process, and with that comes a lot of ups and downs. I just want other families out there to know that the first weeks are hard, but with each day, things get better.